What is Co-Occurring Disorder
If a person has a mental health disorder, they are more likely to also have an alcohol or substance use disorder. These are referred to as “co-occurring” disorders.
This pattern certainly doesn’t apply to every person with a mental health problem, but it is fairly common. Researchers believe this is due to the similar biological, psychological and social components in both types of disorders.
Unfortunately, doctors will diagnose one disorder, but don’t detect the secondary disorder because the symptoms are complex and overlap. Therefore, the person is treated for one disorder but not the alcohol or substance abuse. In some cases, health issues get higher priority.
Doctors who are not psychiatry specialists are especially likely to miss the secondary disorder. This has a critical effect on the person’s recovery – as they don’t get the treatment they need. For them, there is a higher likelihood of homelessness, incarceration, medical illnesses or early death, even suicide.
Need for integrated treatment
With early detection and treatment, we can give people a better quality of life. The most effective treatment plan must address both disorders. With an integrated treatment plan, the result is:
- Reduced substance use
- Improved psychiatric symptoms and functioning
- Decreased hospitalization
- Increased housing stability
- Fewer arrests
- Improved quality of life
With the right treatment for both disorders, people can improve their health and wellness, with a fulfilling life that strives to achieve their full potential.
If you (or your loved one) has been diagnosed with a mental health disorder, call our office today to schedule an appointment with a qualified professional therapist or psychiatrist. It’s critical to their overall recovery – and their quality of life – to get treatment that addresses all disorders.